AEC Office


The decisions of the Council and the General Assembly are implemented by the AEC Office, which is located at Keltenlaan / Avenue des Celtes 20, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. The AEC Office consists of a core team of Chief Executive, General Manager/Deputy CEO, Events and Project Manager and Office Manager, which is supplemented during major projects by dedicated project staff. The AEC Office also regularly welcomes student interns, who gain valuable experience during their placements as well as making an essential contribution to the smooth running of the Association.  

Stefan Gies

Chief Executive

Stefan Gies has been the Chief Executive Officer of the AEC since September 2015. His work focuses on networking with other organisations active in the fields of music, art and higher education at European and international level, as well as on lobbying the institutions of the European Commission and the European Parliament. The key topics he is currently working on include: campaigning for the recognition of the specific features of artistic education compared to other disciplines; ensuring the long-term preservation of adequate framework conditions to maintain a musical life and cultural offers addressing the society as a whole; promotion of musical education at all levels; artistic research and facilitating cross-border mobility.
Stefan was born in 1954 in Landau in southwestern Germany and is trained as a viola player (he performed, for example, in professional orchestras and as a member of an ensemble for contemporary music), as a composer, and also performed in the fields of rock and jazz music. He worked as a classroom and instrumental teacher and got his doctorate degree in music pedagogy. Stefan does research and publishes on theories of musical Bildung and the history and constitution of the institutions. Additionally, he is a member of the research group DAPHME.  For more than 20 years, he was teaching as a professor of music education at the Musikhochschule Dresden and led this institution from 2003 to 2010 as its rector.
Stefan has been actively involved in AEC since 2007. Before taking on the position as its CEO, he took part in: the 'Polifonia' working group on accreditation in higher music education (2007-2010); in the AEC Quality Enhancement Committee (2011-2014 ) and he also chaired the working group "Evaluation for Enhancement" within the FULL SCORE project. Stefan can be reached via

Linda Messas

General Manager/Deputy CEO

Linda joined the AEC in March 2007 as project administrator of the 'Accreditation in European Higher Music Education' project.  She coordinated the ERASMUS Network for Music ‘Polifonia’ (2007-2010) and the AEC Institutional and Programme Review Scheme. Linda is General Manager since January 2011 and supports the CEO in managing the AEC Office. Linda also works for the new external evaluation body MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement. Linda has a Master in European Politics from the Institute of Political Sciences in Strasbourg. She is French, speaks English and some German and works hard on her Dutch. She can be reached via

Sara Primiterra

Events and Project Manager

Sara joined the AEC team in February 2009, first as an intern and then as project administrator for the Swedish Sida Project for the Western Balkans “Widening Participation on the Road to  Membership”. She coordinated the European Students Chamber Orchestra Tour 2011 and in September 2010 she became the Office Manager of the AEC. Since November 2011 Sara has been the Events Manager of the AEC, being in charge of the organization of the AEC  Annual Congress, the IRC Meeting and the thematic working groups and platforms (Pop and Jazz, Early Music and Artistic Research). She also represents the AEC at international  meetings. Since 2016 she also got involved with project management at AEC: she is the Project Manager of the European Online Application System (EASY) and she represents the AEC in the management working group of Erasmus Strategic Partnership and Creative Europe projects where the AEC is involved as communication and dissemination partner. Sara has got a Master of Science in Economics and Management of Arts and Culture at Bocconi Business University in Milan with a final dissertation on conservatories’ international relations. She was also trained as a musician and she got a violin degree at Conservatorio di Novara (Italy). Sara is Italian, speaks  English and French and has some knowledge of Spanish and Dutch. Her main fields of interest are: management of cultural and educational institutions, event management, mobility and international relations. She can be reached via

Esther Nass

Office Coordinator

Esther joined the AEC team in autumn 2016 as intern, and returned as Office Coordinator in 2017 after finishing the Master Euroculture at the University of Groningen and the University of Göttingen. She has been involved in several cultural projects, varying from organising tours for youth orchestras to facilitating cultural dialogue online, as well as working for a education training leaders and managers in the cultural sector. At the AEC she works on the financial and project administration, besides supporting the AEC members and the Council. She likes to play the flute and the piano, and sings when she thinks no one can hear her. She speaks Dutch, English and German and is working on her French. She can be reached via

Jef Cox

Project Coordinator, Review and Policy Officer

Jef joined the AEC team in January 2015, first as an intern and later as Project Coordinator. His work focuses primarily on activities relating to quality assurance and learning outcomes. Jef contributes as Policy and Review Officer to the daily operation of MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement, the independent European evaluation body for higher music education, and regularly represents MusiQuE at events and meetings around Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in European Studies, both from the University of Leuven (Belgium). As a bassoonist and pianist, he has been closely involved in several orchestras and ensembles. Jef is Belgian, speaks Dutch and English, and is working to improve his French. He can be reached via


Paulina Gut

Project, Communication and Events Coordinator
Paulina joined the AEC team in September 2017 first as an intern and later as Project, Communication and Events Coordinator. Paulina also contributes as Administrative Officer to the daily operation of MusiQuE- Music Quality Enhancement, the independent European evaluation body for Higher Music Education. She graduated from the Music Academy of Cracow (Poland) with a Master's Degree in Arts. She plays the piano. She also hold a Music Teaching Diploma obtained at Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. She is dedicated to culture as an active professional musician and music teacher. Paulina also has a broad experience of working in the field of music including management, production and communication. She worked as a trainee with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and Brussels Philharmonic. She is currently studying the Cultural Management program at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Paulina is Polish and speaks French, English, Italian and improving her Dutch. She can be reached via

Nina Scholtens

Communication, Advocacy and Project Coordinator

Nina joined the AEC team in February 2018 as an intern and continued as a Communication, Advocacy and Project Coordinator. She studied European Studies at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht. Nina is engaged in music as an amateur singer and as amateur salsa, bachata and merengue dancer. She has been involved in organizing several projects for students at university and has co-organized a cultural singing event in Maastricht. At the AEC, she works on (online) communication, contributes to political and legal developments, is committed to project management and helps out in the day-to-day office tasks. Nina is Dutch and speaks English, Spanish, German and is working to improve her French. She can be reached via

Barbara Lalić

AEC Intern

Barbara joined the AEC team in August 2018. She is currently studying Music Education at the Academy of Music, University of Zagreb. In her spare time, she volunteers with children and likes to sing in choirs. In Zagreb, she has been involved in organising small events for students and has worked as a music teacher. Barbara is Croatian and speaks English and German and is working on her French. She can be reached via


Chiara Conciatori

AEC Intern

Chiara joined the AEC team in January 2019. She studied Communication, Media and Advertising at the Uninettuno University in Rome. She used to be a ballet dancer and she is willing to keep on dancing. In Latina she worked in a sportive centre where she was responsible for planning activities and organising small events for children and adults. Chiara is Italian, speaks English and has some knowledge of Spanish. She can be reached via